Why? Let me start over for those who might not be with me yet. Mobile devices like iPhone, iPod Touch, Android based handsets, Nokia devices and Windows Phones have these things called “App Stores” where you can get the latest applications to enhance your device. They’re a one stop shop for things that work.
Most of the time the vendor, Apple in the case of iPhone and iPod, run those stores but on some platforms like Windows Mobile you don’t have to go through the app store to install apps. The same goes for “jail broken” iPhones. There are also independent app stores, often more websites really that offer a wide range of free and paid for apps. There are also open libraries that allow developers to just add their stuff. Google’s Android platform, which powers the Nexus one, is a kind of cross between open library and App store.
Are any of these a better or worse model than any other. I don’t think so, not until you bring trust into the scenario.
So who do you trust to give you great apps and what are you trusting them to do?
I guess most people want explicitly:
- Applications that work on their device
There’s probably something implicit though in the offering of any application by the devices manufacturer. That it’ll be safe. That the application you just installed won’t try to steal your data, your identity.
There’s long since been a battle with Apple and developers for not allowing in some applications for some very out there reasons. I wonder how many times it was because the App was trying to steal your identity? I wonder if any got through? One did into the Android marketplace and that was a problem, it was an application that purported to be a banking app but it stole your bank details. Bad. Very bad.
Did people install it because it was in the app store and so they believed there was “implicit trust”. I suspect so.
What can you do about it
At the moment the best thing to do is to crowd source that trust. Reviews on sites build trust, use that to your advantage and only install applications with lots of positive reviews.
Alternatively do your homework. Get educated. Learn about the developer and determine for yourself if they seem like they are worthy of your trust.
Will this be sorted out?
Sure if you start telling people that trust is important. Finally, it feels like there’s a business opportunity in there to me…